Personal financial statements filed by Nixon, Spence say a little -- and a lot
Along with their campaign-finance reports, Missouri candidates also lately have had to file their “personal financial disclosure statements,’’ which lay out what they own – although not how much they are worth.
In the case of Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, and his wealthiest Republican rival – Kirkwood businessman Dave Spence – the reports also say a lot by what’s not on them.
Spence's report, for example, provides few or no details about what are believed to be vast financial holdings in various companies, stocks and other investments.
The Missouri Ethics Commission, which polices such filings, says he doesn't have to. The Missouri Democratic Party says state law requires that he do so.
UPDATE: Spence's two chief Republican rivals -- Kansas City consultant Bill Randles and anti-abortion activist Fred Sauer -- took the detailed route in their reports, obtained later Tuesday.
Sauer's report includes several pages listing dozens of stocks that he owns. Randles also identifies stock that he owns in U.S. Steel and Ford Motor Company. End of update
Nixon’s report, meanwhile, doesn't list any property, because he and his wife no longer own any. He does list his financial interests in detail.
The personal-finance reports do not have to list the candidates’ personal residences, although some officials do list them. News reports in 2010 said that the governor and his wife, Georgeanne Nixon, sold their longtime Jefferson City home, and now reside solely in the state-owned Governor’s Mansion.
(The Nixons sold their home to Peter Hofherr, chief executive of St. James Winery. )
Nixon’s report, which covers the period from Jan. 1, 2011, to March 27, 2012, also lists a number of mutual funds in which he and his wife have investments, including some energy stocks that she owns, and two deferred compensation plans that involve the governor.
His report also cites three outside groups that paid for the governor’s trips in 2011, including the Southern States Energy Board and the state’s Hawthorn Foundation, which paid $25,692 to send the governor, his wife and a delegation of agricultural and business leaders to China last October.
Spence report cites 'living trusts,' little else
Meanwhile, Spence’s report lists two large residential properties aside from his unlisted personal home. One of the reported residences is a 5,200 square foot vacation home is in Camden, Mo., along the Lake of the Ozarks.
The other residence is a 9,540 square feet home in St. Louis that was purchased by Spence for his mother, a spokesman said.
Otherwise, most of his financial holdings are listed only generally, mostly as part of in the David R. Spence Revocable Living Trust, the Suzanne S. Spence (his wife) Revocable Living Trust, or as investments overseen by the Edward Jones investment firm.
The Edward Jones-managed investments are not broken down into any detail, as to the type or identity of the stocks, bonds or mutual funds involved.
A spokesman for Spence said, "The personal financial disclosure was fully and accurately completed and filed in accordance with Missouri law and filled out in consultation with the Missouri Ethics Commission."
Spence’s lack of detail into his financial holdings contrasts with the proposed detailed ethics proposals that he recently laid out. Spence’s proposals would not affect personal financial disclosure reports, but would require more detailed campaign-finance disclosures by statewide and legislative officials. His plan also would remove state officials as members from some state boards.
In recent years, many Missouri statewide candidates have generally gone into more detail in their personal-financial statements with their various stock holdings and mutual funds.
But if a candidate chooses to withhold such information, it doesn’t break any law, said Julie Allen, executive director of the Missouri Ethics Commission, which oversees and polices the filings of the financial disclosure documents and campaign-finance reports.
“Historically, if someone has a holding in brokerage account, we have told them that is something they can do’’ and just list the account, Allen said. “If they call and ask, they can just list their brokerage account.”
The lack of detail can be helpful to a candidate or politician, by preventing any rivals or critics from seeing their investments – and possibly taking potshots at some of them.
The details are sought after, however, by the press, good-government and some in the general public, because they offer insight into the candidates' financial backgrounds and possible conflicts of interest.
No mention of Reliance Bancshares
Spence’s report, for example, makes no mention of the $1.5 million in stock in Reliance Bancshares that he has said he purchased several years ago, while on the board. All the board members were encouraged to make purchases, to help the struggling bank. Spence’s involvement in the bank has been a favorite target for the Missouri Democratic Party for months.
Spence's spokesman declined to say whether he still owns the stock, referring only to their general statement.
His report also says nothing about Big Sky Properties, which Spence had owned as of December 2010. That firm owns the property upon which one of his other companies -- Alpha Plastics -- is situated.
Spence's campaign declined to say why Big Sky wasn't mention. He has sold the bulk of his interest in Alpha Plastics, which apparently is why that firm is not listed.
Spence's report does mention one of his firms, Rutledge Mold Inc.
The Missouri Democratic Party followed through today with a jab at Spence’s personal-finance disclosures – or rather, what the party saw as a lack of transparency.
“It’s deeply troubling that Dave Spence would go to such great lengths to hide his vast financial assets from the public,” said Caitlin Legacki, spokeswoman for the Missouri Democratic Party.
The party disagrees with the state Ethics Commission as to whether Spence was required to go into more detail.
Spence spokesman Jared Craighead asserted: "It's sad that the Democrats are trying to distract from the fact that Jay Nixon is living solely off the taxpayers' dime with lies about Dave Spence..."
Randles, Sauer cite business ties, detailed holdings
UPDATE: Sauer is head of Missouri Roundtable for Life, a Clayton-based group that lobbies against abortion. His personal financial disclosure lists the group, plus the allied Missouri Roundtable Legal Foundation. Sauer's inclusion of the two groups indicates that he is paid by both of them; volunteer involvement with such groups does not need to be reported on the disclosure.
Sauer lists IRA retirement accounts, for him and his wife, Mary Jo Sauer, with the Clayton-based firm, Onion Investment Co., where he is employed.
Sauer lists 10 firms from which he receives income, and stock from 90 companies.
Randles cites his consulting firm, as well his wife's paid roles with Advantage Homes, and with the Missouri Club for Growth, a conservative free-market advocacy group.
Randles reported that he receives income from Alcoa (an aluminum company), Ford Motor Co., U.S. Steel and Caterpiller, a farm-equipment manufacturer.